Enrique Gonzalez

Interaction Designer and Chicagoan

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Notebooks

In my bag is a Field Notes notebook small enough to fit in a pocket. On the cover I wrote SxSW 2011. I suppose that this is the notebook I took to the SxSW conference in 2011. I’m only guessing, because today is Tuesday, December 9, 2014, and I’m almost certain that I haven’t opened this thing since the conference.

Without opening and reading it, I wonder what I can recall from the trip. I remember that finding an affordable hotel room was not an option. During SxSW the entire city of Austin transforms into a giant can of sardines, and poor sardines like me don’t get to have a private room. I caved on privacy, and ended up sharing with some dude that I met at a SxSW meetup in Chicago. He was an experience designer, like me, and a pretty cool sardine.

I also remember the food trucks in Austin. They had Mexican tacos, Korean tacos, vegetarian stuffs, savory cones, and dozens of other options. Even though we had choices, there was one special truck that my friends and I visited almost nightly. It served the best brisket sandwiches on Earth. Everyday after the conference closed at 6:00 p.m. we sailed the streets of Austin listening to the sounds of live music on every block, eating, drinking, and smoking our way through the city. Then late at night, when the streets were quiet, the brisket sandwich sang so sweetly that it lulled us to sleep.

If we weren’t sleeping, then chances are we were on our way to a secret party, that everyone secretly knew about, and was secretly invited to—because it wasn’t a secret. This VIP party scheme is the worst thing I remember about my SxSW experience. We attended the big event, at some huge venue, brought to us by an enormous corporation. The event was full of schmoozers, gurus, and fakers. The whole scene smelled bad. We were there for two reasons: free booze and Big Boi. It turned out that the booze wasn’t free, and Big Boi wouldn’t be on for a few hours; so we left. No big deal, I was with great friends in Austin after dark. We walked slowly through the city, and laughed our way back to the hotel.

I doubt that any of these memories made their way into this tiny brown notebook. I don’t really know what it contains. I do this with a lot of my sketchbooks and notepads. I carry them with me, fill them with ideas, quotes, and references; I tell myself that I’m going to go through them, pick out all of the gems, and do something with them. Then I take them out of my pocket or bag, put them on a shelf or in a box, and forget about them. I wonder what I’ll find if I open this one and start reading. Part of me is afraid that if I do that, then I’ll lose the memories that aren’t written down.

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